Buy, hold, sell: Looking into the Fire
usually Ante Razov ($461,000) and Damani Ralph ($475,000), backed up by Nate Jaqua ($101,000) and Dipsy Selolwane ($139,000). You know that Andy Williams ($340,000) will have a big role in the buildup. You know that Curtin will get a few points for his defensive work in front of Henry Ring ($300,000 -- see below).
You also know that the defensive tenacity that has made Chris Armas a national teamer doesn't pay off in the fantasy world. You should also know that a lot of DaMarcus Beasley's world-class all-around game also won't give you fantasy points, but judging by his $420,000 price tag, most people don't. The jitterbugging midfielder notched seven goals and five assists last season, but more often than not, he sets up attacks by getting fouled (96 times last season) to set up free kicks.
You know that Evan Whitfield ($180,000) would be worth a lot more if he were listed as a defender instead of a midfielder. But you know there's nothing you can do about that.
The other positions are less settled. C.J. Brown ($230,000), Kelly Gray ($219,000), Justin Mapp ($200,000) and Logan Pause ($116,000) are frequent starters. Jaqua got the start ahead of Mapp in midfield Saturday and scored a strange goal ... or did he? (Think of the England-West Germany 1966 World Cup final, where the ball hit the crossbar and may or may not have crossed the line before spinning out. Replays were anything but conclusive.)
The Fire also will have some national-team absences. Armas and Beasley will get games with the USA, while Williams and Ralph could figure in Jamaica's plans.
Those missing games will hurt if you're heavily stocked with Fire players already. But if you don't have any at the moment, this could play to your advantage. Jaqua, Selolwane and Mapp should get more time when their teammates depart. The heavy traders will drop national-team players whenever they're due to be away, making them affordable if you buy at exactly the right time.
If for any other reason you spot a sudden dip in price, swoop. At the moment, most Fire players are hot commodities who could be outside your price range.
BUY: Jaqua, Gray
HOLD until national teams call: Ralph, Williams
HOLD: Razov, Curtin, Ring
In two weeks, we'll look at the Fire's Brimstone Cup rivals, the Dallas Burn.
On Sunday's Price Movers chart:
Josh Wolff, FW, Kansas City (+77,000 to $388,000): Looks like a lot of people reset their lineups to get a few players involved in Sunday's Wizards-MetroStars games. The people who swept up Wolff won't feel as foolish as those who got Cornell Glen, who was busy playing for Trinidad & Tobago in a 4-1 loss to Scotland (check those international absences!), but you won't want to keep the injury-prone Wizards forward at this price. SELL
Jovan Kirovski, FW, Los Angeles (+63,000 to $338,000): Before you get carried away, please note that four of his five goals have come against Dallas. Still, he might have a few more two-goal games in him, especially while he's the go-to guy in Carlos Ruiz's absence. BUY
Tony Meola, GK, Kansas City (+53,000 to $441,000): Another Sunday gamer. The Wizards also play Wednesday, which doesn't hurt. Meola is rivaling Aerosmith for career comebacks, but there are cheaper keepers who pull in as many fantasy points. SELL
Fabian Taylor, FW, MetroStars (+53,000 to $352,000): Proof that no one listens to me. One day, Bob Bradley is going to see one awkward touch too many, and Sergio Galvan Rey, John Wolyniec or Mike Magee will take this spot. Even if I'm wrong on that bet, the Metros have a balanced attack this year, and if you're buying this guy now, you're buying high. SELL
Taylor Twellman, FW, New England (-100,000 to $170,000): Disclaimer: Yes, as soon as Twellman was carted off the field Saturday, Dure's Donkeys sold the Revs striker. Looks like everyone else did, too. If you're stuck with Twellman on your roster today, you have a classic dilemma of whether to act before or after the injury report comes out. If he's not going to miss any time, $170K (or lower, which might be the case Monday or Tuesday) is a nice price for a starting forward who challenged for the league lead in scoring last year, even if he's been misfiring this season. BUY until the injury report comes out, then HOLD or SELL depending on results.
Brian Ching, FW, San Jose (-58,000 to $318,000): Had to come back to reality at some point. He's still a starter in a potent offense, but he shouldn't be your highest-priced player. SELL
Henry Ring, GK, Chicago (-39,000 to $300,000): Guy puts up 80 points and gets dropped by fantasy players everywhere. He's second to Jon Busch in fantasy points per game. This can't be a short-term, week-to-week decision unless a lot of people know something about Saturday opponent D.C. United that I don't. It's in the best interest of Dure's Donkeys, who are still scrambling to replace Adin Brown, to advise a sell here. Dang that moral conscience. BUY
Beau Dure covers soccer for USATODAY.com, and will looking at the fantasy futures markets every other week for MLSnet.com. This story was ont subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.